welcome to nhk world "newsline." i'm gene otani in tokyo. here's a look at some of the stories we're following this hour. snipers opened fire on an envoy headed to the alleged chemical weapon attack. >> japan's industry leader says the government is committed to stopping leakage of radio active water from the fukushima nuclear plant. the trial of a once rising
star in china's communist party has ended after drawing worldwide attention. bo xilai denied all charges against him. the dangerous situation in syria has forced united nations inspectors to delay their investigation into a possible chemical weapons attack. unidentified snipers opened fire on their convoy near the capital damascus. a spokesperson for the u.n. secretary general says snipers shot multiple times at the first vehicle in the convoy. inspectors were on their way to the sites of the alleged attack. the spokesperson says no one was hurt. the inspectors returned to a syrian government checkpoint. they will continue this trip after they replace the damaged vehicle. the shooting raises concerns about whether the u.n. team will be able to do its job safely and thoroughly. the inspectors are trying to look int military used poison gas last
week with deadly effect. as nhk world tells us, people around the world are waiting for their report. >> reporter: opposition leaders say the syrian military used chemical weapons last wednesday to hit targets in suburbs of damascus. they say hundreds of people were killed. government officials argue the claims are absolutely baseless. members of the u.n. security council have expressed grave concern. syrian leaders first refused to grant the team of u.n. inspectors access to the site of the alleged attack. international pressure forced them to reverse that decision. opinions vary on whether chemical weapons were used. spokespersons for doctors say about 3,600 people went to hospitals after the alleged
attacks. they say 355 of them died. >> what we can tell that an important number of patients, very important number of patients, they came within three hours with neurotoxic symptoms. and this is not normal. we are almost sure, even 100% sure that neurotoxic agent have been used. >> reporter: but an israeli expert in chemical weapons takes a different view. >> i didn't see any symptoms that are classically belong to chemical warfare attack, which are convulsions, sweating, excretions from the mouth or from the nose. >> reporter: he says agents such as cyanide might have been used instead. even though no firm conclusion
has been made about what happened, some world leaders are raising the possibility of the use of force. >> translator: the chemical massacre that has occurred in syria, and for which the regime is evidently responsible, is unacceptable. the position of france, which i hope is the position of all democracies, is that there must be a strong reaction. >> reporter: u.s. president barack obama is cautioning against hasty decision. still, america media reported that u.s. naval forces have already been dispatched toward syria's coastal waters. russian officials are concerned about the possible military response. foreign minister sergei lavrov reportedly urged restraint when talking to his u.s. counterpart.
the united states and its allies say killing by syrian forces near the site of the alleged attacks has destroyed evidence. the next step in this long running civil war could depend on the conclusions of the u.n. inspectors. nhk world. japanese government officials say they are determined to take the lead in stopping radioactive groundwater from leaking from the damaged nuclear plant in fukushima. the industry minister is suggesting public funds be used to help cover the costs of building a large underground wall to dam the water. >> translator: so far tepco has simply reacted to leakage problems as they arise.
but the government will now take the lead. >> he visited fukushima daiichi and surveyed the area where contaminated groundwater is being pumped out to prevent it from getting into the ocean. the proposed underground wall would ring the plant in piping. workers would pump coolant into the pipe. and freeze the soil. he also viewed the site where about 300 tons of highly radioactive water leaked from a storage tank and may have seeped into the sea. he told crews with plant operator tokyo electric tower company, or tepco, to take several measures include enhancing the monitoring of storage tanks and installing more welded tanks. the tank that leaked was made of steel plates attached by bolts rather than welding. tepco has been criticized for the poor handling of the leaks at the plant and its late recognition that radioactive materials are flowing into the ocean. the company's president has responded with a pledge to send
up a special task force in charge of managing contaminated water. >> reporter: we need >> translator: we need to employ all the personnel and equipment at the plant. we understand this is a major challenge and we're determined to confront it steadfastly. >> tepco officials say experts from outside japan will also be invited to join the task force on contaminated water. in addition, tepco's vice president in charge of nuclear power will be stationed at the plant to oversee operations directly. prosecutors are demanding a severe sentence for a former political heavyweight. the trial of bo xilai has ended. the once communist star is denying charges of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power. the trial lasted five days in a country where most cases of this nature wrap up in a day. bo was at one time considered contender for a top leadership
post, but a number of scandals involving him came to light after his wife was accused of murdering a british businessman. prosecutors argue bo abused his power to obstruct investigation into his wife's actions. and they said he accepted more than $3.5 million in bribes when he was mayor and party secretary in the city. they said he doesn't deserve leniency because he refused to admit guilt. bo criticized them for presenting insufficient evidence. he said many people will face unfair convictions if judges listened only to the prosecution. he has admitted to a degree of responsibility for some of the charges against him. but he's denying any criminal liability. on the surface bo's fate is in the hand of three judges. but because this is china the decision making process is more complex than that. nhk world in beijing explains. >> reporter: bo xilai stayed
defiant in the face of prosecutors. some say he's the victim of political infighting and innocent of the charges against him. bo likely had this in mind when he planned out his courtroom strategy. sources familiar with the internal affairs of the communist party say party leaders knew that bo would mount a vigorous defense and use eloquent arguments to refute the evidence against him. but some believe they didn't expect him to go as far as he did. bo still enjoys support among ordinary citizens. when he was party secretary of the megacity of chongqing, he relied on those methods. for example, he used mass campaigns to fight for the rights of low-income families and fight against organized
crime. in doing so he stirred a political debate within the communist party. some leaders worry bo's trial will rekindle that debate. there's little doubt judicial authorities will rule that bo is guilty. they are under the party's control. and experts say they aren't independent, especially when they oversee trials of politicians. the question is, what kind of sentence will they hand down? the leadership of president xi jinping has been trying to portray itself as firmly determined to fight corruption. and bo's trial is considered part of that fight. but analysts say authorities may give bo a sentence lenient enough to avoid criticism from within the party, from chinese citizens and from abroad.
nhk world in beijing. chinese envoy is in north korea to discuss resuming the six-party talks on its nuclear program. the discussions have been suspended for almost five years. china chairs the talks joined by japan, the united states, russia and the two koreas. the north's state-run korean central news agency reported the arrival in pyongyang one day before the tenth anniversary of the start of the talks. he's expected to discuss with north korean officials their country's nuclear program and explore an early resumption of the talks aimed at making the korean peninsula nuclear free. the north has not changed its preference for bilateral discussions with the united states within the six-party talks framework. attention is focused on whether wu's visit will make north korea more flexible. the leaders of afghanistan and pakistan held talks on
monday to try to kickstart stalled efforts to negotiate with the taliban. afghan president hamid karzai met with the clock ticking before international troops are scheduled to withdraw from afghanistan. nhk world reports. >> reporter: president karzai's visit was his first since nawaz sharif became prime minister of pakistan in june. karzai wants pakistan to use its support influence to encourage taliban to return to the negotiating table. >> i've come to pakistan, mr. prime minister, to meet with you. and to advance a course of action together by having a common campaign against extremism. we make sure that the two countries are safer and
prosperous towards a secure future. [ gunfire ] >> reporter: securing the peace e single important issue for karzai. the militant group has been stepping up attacks as international troops prepare to withdraw from afghanistan. but the taliban has so far refused to talk to the karzai administration, accusing it of being a puppet of the united states. a peace deal is also an important goal for the united states. in june, the u.s. tried to launch direct talks with the taliban. which opened an office in qatar as a channel for discussions. but that move angered president karzai. he saw it as an attempt to bypass his government. and the dialogue was postponed. to break the impasse, karzai has
been asking pakistan to release detained taliban leaders who have a positive attitude towards negotiations. >> i also realize pakistan's strong and sincere support for peace and reconciliation in afghanistan. >> reporter: the two leaders held a press conference after their meeting. both sides indicated a positive attitude. but few details were made public. and it remains unclear what real progress was made. nhk world, islamabad. religious violence in myanmar has caused tens of thousands of muslims to flee the country. almost all of them members of the stateless rohingya ethnic minority. many have ended in a country that doesn't want them. thailand, thousands of refugees are being housed in overcrowded conditions where several detainees have died.
nhk world got rare access to a detention facility in southern thailand and filed this report. >> reporter: i'm standing at the thailand immigration center. as you can see hundreds of rohingya refugees have been detained here for more than six months without knowing what will happen to them. the facility we visited for refugees near the border of malaysia was smelly and overcrowded. about 300 detainees were cramped into a space for just 100. >> translator: honestly, we feel really stressed. please, help us. >> reporter: rowhingya muslims have long been denied support by the government. violence has caused more and more of them to flee. the u.n. estimates at least
27,000 fled by sea since last year. of nearly 7,000 who reached thai waters, more were forced out to sea. thailand said it would letted rowingyas stay for an initial period of six months. but that time is already up. frustrated rowhingyas have protested. concerns about poor conditions are mounting. civilian men are known to have died while in detention. beneath this fresh grave with no headstone, two youths were silently buried. the thai government says several rowhingyas died this year. >> the conditions may be a little bit overcrowded. and we're trying to improve on
that, but it's also important for the international community to also, you know, have a nonbiased look at how thailand is doing all its best. it's a tragedy even from our point of view to see people risk their lives at sea. >> reporter: the separation of families is another concern. scores of women and children are kept in another shelter away from the men. she escaped myanmar with her husband just a month after their marriage. as soon as they arrived in thai waters, they were detained and separated. she later gave birth to a baby girl. >> translator: when i brought our daughter for the first time to this place of detention, my husband could only cry and cry. he said he couldn't do anything for the baby or for me even
though he's the head of the family. i don't want to go back to myanmar. when i left the country by boat, i promised myself that i'm not going back. >> reporter: one day in mid-august she was finally able to see her husband for the first time in six weeks. >> translator: my child will grow up without recognizing me if things get worse. i don't know why rowhingys fate is always to suffer. >> translator: we decided to flee myanmar because our hometown was burnt to the ground, not one property left standing. but even though we reached thailand, we feel our will to live has been lost. i want to escape from all these
problems by committing suicide. >> reporter: where they will end up is uncertain. but this is clear, the monsoon will end soon and the indian ocean will be calm. the next wave of refugees will arrive in perhaps greater numbers than before. nhk world, thailand. people across japan hold hundreds of fireworks shows in summer. a national contest that's been running in the north for more than a century is considered one of the best. only the best pyrotechnique teams are allowed to participate. and they produce some truly stunning results. nhk world shows us. >> reporter: fireworks are a big
deal in the omagari district. there's a street. street hole covers and art on sidewalks. no wonder the annual fireworks festival is a big draw. 750,000 people showed up this year. that's 20 times the district's population. 27 fireworks producers from across japan competed to win recognition as the best of the bunch. only two managed to create the six-ring chrysanthemum image firework. the display requires a lot of accuracy and technique. this version by local firework craftsman won the most viable
performance award. >> translator: we put in a lot of time and effort. we hoped they would open perfectly. i'm so glad we succeeded. >> reporter: for the finale, the promoter of the event ended the show by setting off a 500-meter long line of fireworks. >> reporter: it's a kind of reaction technicians work so hard for. and the work doesn't stop. they say they start thinking of brand new fireworks for next year's contest the day after the competition. nhk world.
a tropical storm east of the philippines is triggering heavy showers across the country. meteorologist robert speta has been following this story. robert. i've been watching this one. it is tropical storm pulling just north osteast or luzon. a similar situation as we saw last week with trami that moved to the north and impacted taiwan. but it pulled in the monsoon from the southwest here and that brought in these heavy rain showers. so the waters are still receding following that. this storm system very well could be bringing a similar condition. now, it is going to continue to push off here towards the north expecting it to intensify up to a severe tropical storm intensity, but it's still not going to be a big windmaker. the wind could spread out as it pushes to the north, but it's going to be a big rainmaker, in the next 24 to 72 hours possibly moving into taiwan. something we want to continue to watch out for for the risk of flooding and even landslides
with it. farther to the north we have this stationary boundary. it's slowly drifting off to the east though. much of western japan going into your tuesday you're going to be seeing improving conditions following flooding we saw over the weekend. into hokkaido we have a low pressure area accompanied by an upper level trough. it's keeping things unstable just enough for isolated pop-up thunderstorms that form up through tuesday. some could even become severe. but that's for the most part out here in japan. high pressure's going to be dominating the rest. and throughout most of the week the weather's going to be fair. but there is a new storm system coming in. and that's moving in from the west out of central northern china going to push through northeastern china into the korean peninsula and off towards japan. bringing showers with it especially there in the northeastern china. you've been seeing worst floods in decades out here. you do not need more rain. this video out of northeastern china where hundreds of oil wells at one of china's major oil fields have been forced to close following just these weeks of heavy rains. the oil extraction equipment has
been submerged at the docking oil field located on the confluence of three rivers in china's northeastern province. officials say they're taking these precautions to ensure the safety of the staff, but also to avoid any environmental damage brought in by these oil fields if they continue to run. obviously they're all submerged. so at this time you do not need anymore rain. you see the flood pictures. we've been showing them for several weeks now. this one though it could bring about 50 to 100 millimeters on top of what has already been occurring out here. it's also cooling off temperatures. look at beijing on tuesday. the front has passed ulaanbaatar, only 15 for the high. over to the americas, we have this storm system that's continuing to push on shore. that is tropical storm fernand. also widespread showers into the southwest. we have this tropical low combined with the monsoon pulling that moisture on shore. there's some risk of flooding, but the main threat winds
gusting up to about 72 kilometers per hour. also lightning, talking about wildfires out here. that's going to be a problem. it could be fanning those flames out. as far as temperatures though very warm across much of the eastern seaboard. we have some severe thunderstorms in the forecast for the western great lakes. but that cold front as it pushes through it is going to be bringing some cooler temperatures as we look ahead. now, here in to europe the big topic is this low pressure area spinning in central europe. that is bringing the risk of some severe thunderstorms in italy, towards the balkans, some large hail, even the possibility of a tornado or two coming out of this as it pushes off to the east. rome, a high of 27. you want to go somewhere cool, vienna at 20, london at 23 here on tuesday. that's a look at your world weather. here's the extended forecast.
♪ >> members of the nhk symphony orchestra debuted at the salsburg festival. they premiered the lam menation. it's a eulogy to people who died in japan two and a half years ago in the earthquake and tsunami. festival organizers had it written by japanese composer. the orchestra also performed three other pieces. >> it was amazingly beautiful and moving. and we were both almost in tears at the end of it. >> translator: i had never heard such a wonderful performance by such a passionate orchestra. that's "newsline" for this hour. i'm gene otani in tokyo.